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How to organise your wedding aperitif?

This is it, the D-day, the day the couple say “I do”! The wedding ceremony takes place in the church and/or at the town hall. Once the ceremony is over, it is time to drink to the health of the newlyweds. This is the time for the wedding aperitif, more precisely called “vin d’honneur”. Guests are invited to toast and enjoy petit fours before the meal in the pre-booked wedding hall, a way for the bride and groom to thank them for coming to be present for their exchange of vows. But you may be wondering how to prepare your vin d’honneur. Here’s how to organise your wedding aperitif, for a successful party.

The course of the vin d’honneur

Where does it stand?

The vin d’honneur, outside the reception hall, your wedding reception indoors, around 6 or 7 pm, short vin d’honneur, host your wedding reception. This is a great way to enjoy a lovely natural setting while sipping a good drink. Heaven on earth! What more could you ask for? 

You can also organise your wedding reception indoors, either in the same room as the dinner or in a separate room. Setting it up in a different room from the dining room may be more practical in order to stagger the different moments of the festivities between the aperitif, dinner and the rest of the evening. 

Also plan the time of the aperitif, which is usually around 6 or 7 pm, depending on when the wedding ceremony ends. Synchronise with your caterer for good timing.

The duration of the aperitif

The vin d’honneur usually lasts at least 1 hour before the wedding meal begins. You can make it last longer by transforming it into a 2-hour aperitif-dinner that replaces the starter of the meal. This formula, all the more convivial, encourages the guests to get to know each other and to chat before going to the table, ideal for starting the festivities in a good atmosphere.

Consider renting high tables so that your guests can eat standing up and put their champagne glasses and purses (for the ladies) or other belongings on them. For elderly guests who may need to sit for part of the wine reception, provide chairs as well.

Who is invited?

The vin d’honneur is a crowded moment, since the people invited to the cocktail party are those present at the ceremony and those invited to the wedding meal. In some cases, some people invited to the aperitif do not participate in the meal. This is of course a function of the personalised invitation they will have received before the wedding. The invitations indicate the start and end times of the vin d’honneur.

Drinks and petits fours to be served at the aperitif of your wedding

The drinks

Remember to provide non-alcoholic drinks for children and guests who prefer to quench their thirst with a milder beverage. Check with your caterer about the quantities to order, depending on the number of guests who will not be drinking alcohol. Don’t hesitate to provide a pomegranate bar or pretty lemonade boxes (plain or lemon flavoured) to encourage guests to consume more non-alcoholic drinks. 

As far as alcoholic beverages are concerned, champagne is obviously the king of aperitifs at a wedding, but you can also opt for sparkling wine or a cocktail created in honour of the bride and groom. Plan the number of bottles with your caterer, who will be able to advise you.

The little treats

For a short vin d’honneur, calculate about ten petits fours per guest. If it’s a cocktail party, plan on twice as many. You can also organise small animations showing how to cut foie gras or smoked salmon. An “oyster boat” where fresh oysters are served on ice is also a good idea for a nice conviviality. Amongst the petits fours, make sure you have ashtrays for smokers. Finally, ask your wedding witnesses to set aside a few mignardises for you while you go around your guests to chat!

Preparing the wedding aperitif: entertainment and decorations

Entertainment during the vin d’honneur

Let your imagination run wild when choosing how to host your wedding reception. Set up a candy or flower bar, a wedding urn, a guest book where your guests can leave you a personalised note, a beer bar, rent a photo booth to keep unforgettable memories of your wedding reception. Another essential for a successful wedding aperitif is the background music: don’t forget the music! Use a DJ, a band or a small orchestra, especially if you choose a long wedding reception.

The decorations

If your wedding reception is held outdoors, it is not easy to decorate the gardens. The gardens can be beautiful natural settings without the need for frills. However, you can decorate the tables with floral arrangements, hang pompoms from the trees… Think of light decorations, which will be very useful to find your way around outside once night falls. Hang lanterns on the branches of trees or place several lanterns on the lawn. 

Indoors, don’t hesitate to sublimate the place where your wedding aperitif will take place. Numerous accessories allow you to make a magnificent decoration: hangings, garlands, chandeliers, candles… Embellish the high tables and the buffet with beautiful tablecloths decorated with flower bouquets. Your wedding hall is the key venue for the festivities of this unique day in your life. As the bride and groom, you should carefully choose one that is 100% your own, so that you will have vibrant and magical memories of your vin d’honneur.

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